Geashill (Bar.)

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  • Barony of Geashill

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Geashill (Bar.)

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Geashill (Bar.)

946 Archival description results for Geashill (Bar.)

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Annual Report 1859

Annual report for year ending July 1859, including a list of leasholders and undertenants who have surrendered their several leases; general account of income and expenditure; detailed statements of disbursements including costs of drainage and building improvements; a list for compensation for surrender of tenancies and emigration; and a detailed rental of entire estate.

Contains a summary report outlining the mechanism of the leaseholder's compensation fund, the distribution of which, W. S. Trench describes as 'the most arduous and most serious task of responsibility I have ever had to encounter.' Also discusses estate improvements such as the drainage of 125 statute acres, particularly in Meelaghans where 100 acres 'of miserable cut away bog' was drained and cultivated. Also discusses improvements to the labourers' cottages through the additions of chimneys and windows and a proposal to enter the new cottages for the award of the Gold Medal offered by the Royal Agricultural Society. Further estate improvements include new roads through Killellery, Lugmore and Meelaghans.

Agrarian unrest is also discussed in the context of the case of Henry Kane, tenant, who along with his brother, Michael Kane, each held a farm in Killurin. On the death of Michael, Henry took immediate posssession of his brother's farm, to which the Trenchs objected. Report discusses general tenant support for Kane, even from outside the estate, and includes descriptions of intimidatory tactics by Ribbonmen. Also discusses measures to have Henry Kane ejected from the land altogether.

Drawings in the report include:
Page 2: 'Ancient pan found on Geashill Estate, 4 feet broad x 14 inches deep' (The Geashill Cauldron)
Page 11: 'Ancient keg of butter found 12ft below surface of Red Bog. 2 feet long x 13 inches broad.'

Annual Report 1860

Annual report for year ending June 1860 containing details of the leaseholder's compensation fund, the executors' arrears, mesne rates, new rentals and the purchase of leases. Also discusses estate improvements: permanent land improvement at Meelaghans; the creation of turf banks at Colehill; management of woods and plantations at Scrubb Wood, Killeenmore and Derryweelan ('Furry Hill'); and the building of roads and bridges at Clonad and Derryclure. Particularly refers to the 'model farm' which has been established at Ballyknockan.

In relation to the construction of houses, the report describes the completion of Richard Odlum's offices in Ballyduff, 'one of the most independent and thriving farmers on a large scale on the estate.' Also discusses Odlum's house in Ballymooney to be near completion. Reports that cottages in Killeigh and the new rent offices are complete 'and ought to last forever'. Referring to dire housing conditions amongst some of the tenantry, the report justifies the expense on rebuilding houses and states that there was more than one case on the estate 'where the inhabitants were in daily danger of being buried alive.' Also reports on small repairs to existing tenants' houses and a scheme of compensation for 59 families to surrender certain tenancies.

Also reports on agrarian unrest and agitation by Ribbonmen on the estate, including arson attacks on Geashill Castle offices and outhouses, and an arson attack on the farm of Mrs. Pattison, Protestant tenant at Annagharvey. Appendix contains copy letter from John Townsend Trench, second son of W. S. Trench, who interviewed Mary Shea, barmaid of the Cross Keys public house, Geashill, at the barracks in Tullamore where she was being held for her own safety. Letter describes plot to assassinate T. W. Trench and lists the main Ribbonmen active in Geashill as told to J. T. Trench: Loughlin Kelly ('treasurer of the murder fund'), Henry Bryan of Cross Keys public house; John Whelaghan, John Helian, William Grumly, Ned Geraghty, Christopher Mooney, Johnny Clibborn and others.

Drawing on pg 151:
Sign language or secret signals of the Ribbonmen

Annual Report 1861

Annual report for year ending June 1861 containing details of executors' arrears, mesne rates, new rentals, estate improvements and general observations on the management of the estate. In terms of estate improvements, the report details drainage schemes including the completion of the reclamation of the land at Meelaghans and new schemes at Ballyknockan, and Ballina. Also includes details of roads built from Clonad to Derryfad and from Ballyknockan Bridge to Knockbally. Reports that the Royal Agricultural Society of Ireland awarded provincial prize of the gold medal to Lord Digby for the greatest number of improved cottages in the province of Leinster. Also reports on improvements to the Castle including the conversion of the old ball room to a parlour and drawing room.

Regarding the general management of the estate, Trench reports on 'improved tone and feeling' on the estate with new houses and improved layout appreciated by tenantry. Considers the area still backward in terms of agriculture but improving. Very dissatisfied with the police authorities in the district and reports that 6 murders took place in King's County, 2 of the most barbarous in Geashill. Also updates Lord Digby on the situation with Ribbonmen on the estate. Reports that eight active Ribbonmen have been ejected from the estate: Loughlin Kelly (Ballina), Henry Bryan (Cross Keys public house), John Clibborn (Clonmore), John Helian (Killurin), Darby Flanagan (Pigeonhouse), John Whelaghan (Newtown), Patrick Larkin (Colehill) and William Grumley (Dalgan).

Drawings in report:
Page 119 'Thoro or main drain' diagram
Page 120 Diagrams for drain and outlet for drains
Page 125 Diagrams of drains and thoro drainage
Page 129 Map of estate drainage

Annual Report 1862

Annual report for year ending June 1862 containing details of the rental of the estate and the consequent worsening financial situation. Explains that rental income has decreased due to the inability of the tenants to meet their rent following the bad harvest of the previous year. Also discusses drainage and land improvements at Ballyknockan, Annagharvey, Ballyduff, Ballydownan and Colehill. In terms of buildings, the report discusses construction of a new school house at Geashill and minor repairs to existing tenants' houses. Referring to the number of tenants on the estate, the report suggests that there are too many for advantageous farming and discusses compensation scheme for emigration. Reports that 807 tenants have left in the last five years and 142 houses were levelled.

Referring to the threat from Ribbonmen, the report warns that Lord Digby is set to lose two of his best tenants, Mr Denning, bank manager of Bank of Ireland, Tullamore and Mr Dowling, attorney, Tullamore due to sustained intimidation by Ribbonmen. Appendix contains copies of letters from both men setting out their situation. Appendix also cotnains report on the woods and forests by forester Daniel Dewar.

Drawings in report:
Page 1 Drawing of cottage and yard with tenants and animals
Page 5 Drawing of large farmhouse with adjoining field being ploughed.
Page 8 Drawing of the new schoolhouse
Page 10 Drawing of Scrubb Wood before and after thinning
Page 12 Drawing of a ship sailing from the coast (emigration)
Page 105 Map of Ballycollin

Annual Report 1863

Annual report for year ending June 1863 containing details of rental and general management of the estate. Includes a general report describing the failure of the 1862 harvest and the subsequent loss of rental income, including the complete abandonment of arrears in many cases. Regrets that funds were not sufficient to entice tenants to emigrate as many small and middle farmers were 'compelled to stay half starving on their land, unable to pay rent or crop the ground, or to emigrate to another land, and barely able to support life on the miserable produce of the soil'.

Also discusses the completion of drainage works at Meelaghans, now let to Mr Goodbody of Tullamore, and at Ballyknockan, now let to Mr. Ridgeway. Referring to building works, the main project was the building of the new school house at Geashill. Other new buildings include the Castle offices to replace those previously burnt. Reports on the new forester, Daniel Dewer, who has had success in making the woods and plantations profitable, in particular at Clonad.

Annual Report 1864

Annual report for year ending June 1864 containing details of the rental of the estate and the financial situation relating to the payment of rent. Explains that while the 1863 harvest was an improvement on previous years, it was not enough to ease arrears of rent and that the most impoverished on the estate had even sold their milch cows. Reports that large farms have best withstood the pressure of the previous seasons, middle and small farmers suffered the most, and the labouring classes did not suffer too much as they gained much employment in the drainage works at Ballycollin.

Reports on other large drainage works one one side of the Tullamore Road at Geashill, a large tract of land mainly made up of the farms of surrendered tenants. Also discusses farming and waste farms - 227 acres at Ballycollin and 34 acres at Bawnmore are now under tillage. Referring to the estate buildings, the report discusses improvements to the castle offices, construction of farm offices required by larger tenants, construction of a house for the drainage superintendent and the general poor condition of the village of Killeigh. Also includes a report by forester, Daniel Dewar, on woods and plantations. Further reports that Dewar will be leaving the estate as he was sought by Lord Lovat for a superior position.

Regarding emigration, the report suggests that not as much emigration as anticipated has occurred on the estate due to the 'vigorous opposition from priests', but does report that a considerable number of middle-sized farmers have been compelled to leave the estate for economic reasons.

Drawings in report:
Page 89 'Ancient Monastery Killeigh' - window opes

Annual Report 1865

Annual report for year ending 1865 containing details of the rental of the estate and the slow recovery of the financial situation. Describes the low level of emigration from the estate in comparison to the rest of Ireland. Also describes drainage and land improvements at Ballyknockan, Ballycollin and Annagharvey, and at the new farm known as 'The Prairie.' Reports on tillage of corn and the sowing of grain, rape, grass-seed and potatoes.

Reports on the transformation of the village of Killeigh from a state where peripheral houses had already fallen in and the houses on the main street had become too dangerous and too exposed to the weather to live in, to newly built cottages which were entered for competition of Gold Medal of the Royal Agricultural Society of Ireland for the best cottages in the province of Leinster and also won the challenge cup offered by the Duke of Leinster. Other buildings include a new house for the miller at Killeigh and Odlum of Ballymooney required extensive additions to his premises. A long range of offices were built for Mr Denning in Cappancur and a new forge was built in Ballinagar.

Also reports on the clearance of Clonad Woods and the purchase of an interest in a considerable plantation in Ballydownan. Regarding threats from Ribbonmen, the report states that Killurin is now the only part of the estate subject to outrages, chiefly of the robberies of foresters of the estate. Also reports that emigration rates have fallen and only sons and daughters of small farmers are leaving for America to join other family members.

Annual Report 1866

Annual report and rental for year end June 1866, containing reports on the steady and continuous improvement of the financial affairs of the estate. Also discusses drainage and land improvements particularly the 343 statute acres on either side of the Tullamore Road, and a new project at Ballyknockan flat. Reports that the soil here was particularly poor, and 650 tons of Dublin dairy manure was shipped down the Grand Canal and spread over the land, resulting in a marked improvement in grass growth. Also reports on the completion of the Killeigh main-drain and the Plovers-egg drain at Clonad Wood. Also includes a report on large-scale farming on the estate and the construction of three new farmhouses and a new forge.

On political matters, the report describes the 1865 general election which was contested by Sir Patrick O'Brien, John Gilbert King and Mr. Hennessy (O'Brien and King elected). Provides a detailed breakdown of voting preferences by the tenantry of Geashill Estate, who Trench reports, voted and returned home peacefully 'before the usual excitement attendant on an Irish Election had begun.' Also includes a description of election day in Tullamore, complete with mobs with 'shillelaghs'.

Annual Report 1867

Annual report and rental for year end June 1867, containing reports on the continuously improving financial situation of the estate, due mainly to the increase in rental receipts. Also reports on drainage at Ballyknockan and the remarkable effect of Dublin dairy manure has had on the land in this area. Other farming improvements include the invention and introduction by Trench of a new drainage plough which was given special merit by the Royal Agricultural Society of Ireland. Further farm machinery was also purchased such as a mowing machine and a hay-tedder which were hired out by the farmers of the estate.

Reports that building and slating has increased all over the estate and provides a description of various building repairs and a newly-built farmhouse let to the Commons family - 'one of the oldest and most respectable families on the estate.' Also reports that four new labourers' cottages built in Killeigh for people whose houses were in ruins, were awarded the Gold Medal and Challenge Cup by the Royal Agricultural Society of Ireland. Also refers to the sale of timber to the Great Southern & Western Railway, which allowed for a large portion of Derryclure to be thinned of beech and replanted with larch and oak, and also necessitated the purchase of a weighing machine for timber to avoid the tolls of the weighbridge in Tullamore.

Referring to past agrarian outrages, Trench remarks that the tone on the estate is 'excellent' and 'it is as if Fenianism never existed'.

Annual Report 1868

Annual report and rental for year end June 1868, containing details of the finances of the estate, and developments inn drainage, land improvement, waste farms, tillage, woods and plantations. Main drains were completed at Meelaghans and Ballinvally, and 'thoro' drains were completed at Ballyknockan, Ballymooney and Killurin. All the drainage schemes were entered into a competition offered by the Royal Agricultural Society of Ireland for best drained land. Discusses farming and the merits of various types of fertilizer: Dublin manure, woolen rags or bone-dust. Also reports on the construction of a movable 'Russian Village', as seen at the Paris Exhibition in 1867, for easily housing labourers as they move around to work on various parts of the estate.

Reports that a new building yard has been acquired next to the house of the architect, Thomas Mallinson, in Geashill Village, and also that a new machinery shed has been constructed to house the steam-engine, the threshing mill and other implements. In relation to repairs to tenants' houses, the report outlines there is much yet to be done, but that Lord Digby has won the gold medal from the RASI for repairs in the best manner for the greatest number of houses in Leinster. He was also awarded a bronze medal at the Paris Exhibition of 1867 for models of cottages exhibited.

Discussing the general condition of the estate, Trench notes that the 'slight stains of Fenianism have been washed away by time and people now look at it as a thing of the past.' He also notes the death of the 3rd Earl of Rosse, the Lord Lieutenant of King's County, 'celebrated for his monster telescope and scientific acquirements.' Appendix contains a copy letter from Thomas Mallinson, Geashill architect, to T. W. Trench, reporting on a visit to London to inspect the manufacture and use of concrete to build houses. Declines to recommend concrete-built houses for the Geashill estate due to the expense and the varied character of the houses.

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